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[liberationtech] Not another Haystack right?

Brian Conley brianc at smallworldnews.tv
Tue Nov 29 17:05:27 PST 2011


Also, GV is avowedly opposed to taking USG funding, as it's been related to
me recently by Ivan Sigal, their Executive Director. I believe they have
always been opposed to it, including funding via a pass through or as a
subcontractor or subgrant receiver. My understanding is that this is
primarily due to the attitude about USG funding in the Middle East, whereas
GV *does* receive funding from other organizations connected to governments
other than the United States.

Brian

On Tue, Nov 29, 2011 at 3:58 PM, Jillian C. York <jilliancyork at gmail.com>wrote:

> Katrin,
>
> First off, while this debate may not be pertinent *to this thread*(admittedly, I only brought it up because I misunderstood Brian's
> comments), I do think it's a useful discussion to have, as many tool
> developers don't seem to think about the impact of their funding on users.
>
> Now, facts: I've been publicly critical of USG (and specifically,
> State/DRL) funding since I worked at Berkman, so I'm not sure what kind of
> "gotcha" you're trying to pull here.  Berkman incubated Global Voices (but
> did not receive USG funding for it, nor has GV ever received USG money to
> my knowledge), and Berkman received USG funding for *research*.  I don't
> see what either of those facts have to do with USG funding of *tools* *or
> trainings*, both of which have direct impact on individuals (whereas
> research does not, though of course impact may be indirect).
>
> To be clear, I'm not wholly opposed to USG funding.  There are obvious
> pluses and minuses, but speaking narrowly, if we take circumvention as a
> singular example, it's extremely clear that USG has in the past and perhaps
> continues to fund tools that are not vetted, not secure, and not safe.  Add
> to that the fact that some folks in MENA, and likely elsewhere, don't trust
> the USG, tool developers would be well-advised to tread with caution.
>
> You may think this debate is off the mark, and again, it is clearly not
> relevant to the original thread (and for that I apologize).  But given that
> it's at the top of the list for discussion at *every single Arab
> blogging-type event I've ever been to*, I don't think you're in a place
> to call it irrelevant.
>
> Best,
> Jillian
>
>
> On Tue, Nov 29, 2011 at 3:02 PM, Katrin Verclas <katrin at mobileactive.org>wrote:
>
>> Eh, Jillian - it's not that your former employer, the Berkman Center,
>> ever received USG funding or supported a bloggers network...oh wait...
>>
>> I think this debate is really off the mark, unhelpful and needlessly
>> ideologically narrow as well as playing into all sorts of conspiracy
>> theories.  In the end, the ethics, quality of the work and the transparent
>> conduct and legitimacy of the organization and any local partners speaks
>> far louder than where the funding comes from.  And yes, speaking as a USG
>> grantee who treads very carefully to make sure that our work and conduct
>> speaks for itself in the end.
>>
>> Now, go ahead and beat on me as y'all are want to do ... :)
>>
>> Katrin
>>
>> On Nov 29, 2011, at 2:16 PM, Jillian C. York wrote:
>>
>> > I'm desperately curious as to why anyone thinks that USG funding makes
>> something somehow more valid in the eyes of the tool's recipients/users.
>>  "Viability" perhaps, but validity?  Surely you don't believe that.
>> >
>> > On Tue, Nov 29, 2011 at 10:53 AM, Michael Rogers <m-- at gmx.com> wrote:
>> > Hi Brian,
>> >
>> > Thanks for the questions - answers below.
>> >
>> > On 29/11/11 18:22, Brian Conley wrote:
>> > > 1. what are some use-cases you see for Briar? That is not clear from
>> > > your site, other than "Briar is a secure news and discussion
>> > > system designed to be used by journalists, activists and civil society
>> > > groups in authoritarian countries. "
>> > >
>> > > How would they use it? What would they do with it? What are their
>> goals,
>> > > and for what reasons would they choose Briar over, say, secret
>> Facebook
>> > > groups run over TOR and HTTPS (there may be lots of problems with that
>> > > example, its just an example that I think activists are likely to
>> > > utilize, and I know of at least one case where a "secret facebook
>> group"
>> > > has been used to coordinate actions in an Arab country, though I doubt
>> > > they were using any additional security in most cases)
>> >
>> > I hope people will use Briar for anything they currently use blogs,
>> > mailing lists, Facebook groups and private emails for. But since it's
>> > inconvenient to adopt new tools, I'd imagine its main appeal will be to
>> > users who feel they're at risk of surveillance or censorship.
>> >
>> > When compared to Facebook, the advantages of Briar would include:
>> > * Messages can be posted anonymously or pseudonymously
>> > * Facebook and its partners don't have access to private messages
>> > * Users in the same country don't need to "climb the wall" to
>> > communicate with each other
>> >
>> > Of course, there are disadvantages too - not least of which is that
>> > Facebook can be accessed from any computer with a browser.
>> >
>> > > With regard to its use by journalists especially, how will sources be
>> > > able to be identified? Although you may not want people to know that
>> > > Brian Joel Conley who lives in Portland OR, etc said X, Y, and Z, a
>> > > journalist will need to know that X, Y, and Z were all said by the
>> same
>> > > source, among other needs.
>> >
>> > If someone needs to prove that two or more messages come from the same
>> > source, she can sign those messages with a pseudonym. The pseudonym
>> > doesn't need to be connected to her real identity in any way, and she
>> > can use multiple pseudonyms without anyone, including her trusted
>> > contacts, being certain that those pseudonyms belong to her.
>> >
>> > If someone needs to confirm that a pseudonym belongs to a specific
>> > individual, she has to meet that individual face-to-face. Briar has
>> > nothing equivalent to PGP's web of trust that could be used to attest
>> > that "key X belongs to person Y according to person Z".
>> >
>> > > 2. who is funding your project? Are you being public about this? If
>> not,
>> > > it raises some concerns for the validity and viability of the project,
>> > > though it may also be understandable given the subject matter. If it's
>> > > not being funded by the Broadcast Board of Governors already, and
>> you're
>> > > willing to consider USG funding, let me know and I'm happy to put you
>> in
>> > > touch with some folks who may be able to assist.
>> >
>> > Thanks, that would be fantastic! The project has previously been funded
>> > by the Small Media Initiative but isn't currently receiving any funding.
>> > If we do, we'll be transparent about it.
>> >
>> > Cheers,
>> > Michael
>> > _______________________________________________
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>> >
>> > --
>> > jilliancyork.com | @jilliancyork | tel: +1-857-891-4244 | google
>> voice: +1-415-562-JILL
>> >
>> >
>> >
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>>
>> Katrin Verclas
>> MobileActive.org
>> katrin at mobileactive.org
>>
>> skype/twitter: katrinskaya
>> (347) 281-7191
>>
>> Check out the new Mobile Media Toolkit at
>> http://mobilemediatoolkit.org. To "Making Media Mobile!"
>>
>> A global network of people using mobile technology for social impact
>> http://mobileactive.org
>>
>>
>
>
> --
> jilliancyork.com | @jilliancyork | tel: +1-857-891-4244 | google voice:
> +1-415-562-JILL
>
>
>
>
> _______________________________________________
> liberationtech mailing list
> liberationtech at lists.stanford.edu
>
> Should you need to change your subscription options, please go to:
>
> https://mailman.stanford.edu/mailman/listinfo/liberationtech
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> If you would like to receive a daily digest, click "yes" (once you click
> above) next to "would you like to receive list mail batched in a daily
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>
> You will need the user name and password you receive from the list
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>
> Should you need immediate assistance, please contact the list moderator.
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> Please don't forget to follow us on http://twitter.com/#!/Liberationtech
>



-- 



Brian Conley

Director, Small World News

http://smallworldnews.tv

m: 646.285.2046

Skype: brianjoelconley
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